Missouri has seven veterans home with an overall total of about 1,230 beds. The Missouri Veterans Commission has about 400 veterans waiting for a bed at one of the homes. That’s a drastic difference from when Executive Director Grace Link first took over her position about 18 months ago. She was told roughly 1,800 people were on the waiting list then.

Grace Link (Photo courtesy of Missouri Veterans Commission)

Link says the commission has been contacting veterans to ensure they require 24-hour care. It had previously allowed veterans who did not require skilled nursing care to be added to the waiting list. Link says the veterans previously waiting are not getting kicked off the list.

“We will simply place them on hold if they have declined a bed. When they really do need a skilled nursing care bed, then we will be in communication with each other to ensure that they meet the requirements for a skilled nursing care bed and we can help facilitate that to them,” she says.

If a bed is not available, Link says other options are out there for Missouri veterans.

“The Federal Department of Veterans Affairs has many, many, many contracts for veterans at community nursing homes, if we cannot get them in right away. Also, they have contract care established in their communities for home health care and many different levels of care,” she says. “There are a lot of options out there. We want to help every veteran get to the correct level of care as soon as possible.”

The veterans home in northwest Missouri’s Cameron has intermittently stopped admitting new residents since 2018 due to a nursing assistant shortage and for allowing veterans who did not require 24-hour care. Some of the other homes have previously stopped new admissions but are not currently on a freeze.

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